Known as one of the nicest guys in no prep racing, Joe Woods, or as we all know him better as “Dominator” and is not one to be taken lightly. Appearing on the Discovery Channel’s Hit TV Show Street Outlaws and the newfound series No Prep Kings, Dominator has grown up around cars and immersed himself into the lifestyle before he could even tie his shoes, but we’ll get to that later. Growing up Dominator was instilled with a strong work ethic, waking up before dawn to work on the family farm, anything from feeding the hogs to fixing a broken fence, nothing creates the foundation of a man more than growing up on the farm. Dominator’s desire for cars comes honest as his entire family was into muscle cars, he had plenty of mentors. He looked up to his uncle, father, and their friends, who would always come by to work on their cars at his family’s place.
Believe it or not, at the age of 3 is where he began his driving career, it’s also when he crashed his first car. Dominator and his brother were not unlike every other sibling duo when mom left them unsupervised. To the best of his knowledge, he recalls his mother motioning and mouthing “don’t touch anything” like any mother would do while leaving two boys in the car while running out quickly. Like most brothers when you leave them alone together, Dominator was convincing enough to talk his brother into working the pedals as he worked the steering wheel of his mother’s GTO. He shifted it into gear and off they went, right into the side of the neighbor’s van. Like most people guilt set in, even at the ripe old age of 3. Dominator remembers only flashes of memory for the whole story, but he distinctively does recall the sound of his father’s car pulling up after the incident, like Ralph from A Christmas Story did when he hears his old man pull up the driveway when he was in the fight with Scott Farkas earlier in the day. Luckily, in the end, no one was hurt.
Hanging out with family and friends, Dominator learned quickly how to build and even make the tools needed for projects. As anyone knows you must have the right tools for any project which has helped fuel the hardworking nature he has today. His father had two GTOs, and his uncle did as well. Although later his uncle switched over to Mopar, which is what type of car Dominator now drives in his 1967 Dodge Dart. As Dominator got older, he had a great appreciation and adored the cars shows and cruise nights in his hometown. The car shows were so involved that sometimes they even gave away cars. His entire town was car centered and he could turn to just about anyone and have a conversation about their vehicles because as we all know, nothing sparks a great conversation better than talking about our own cars.
Given the chance, Dominator would pick street racing which almost always covers an 1/8 mile over going to the drag strip every time. He would say “Street over track all day long, the feeling of a full-blown street race, the thrill of the possibility of getting caught, and the comradery, the adrenaline, pressure, anxiety” There is no doubt that he loved it and still loves it today. Not to say he doesn’t love the strip and competing against the others at the track, but the street is his roots and a familiar taste of home any racer can identify with. Dominator began his no prep days at the back of the track before no prep was technical even a category. Street racers would get into heated discussions with drag racers, so to finally settle the score as to who was the better of the two, the behind the track races began. This is where they would line up at the end of the track where there was no track preparation, and race towards the starting line. Still today there is a whole group known for No Prep, both on the street and at a drag strip.
Dominator’s first car was a 1956 Chevy Bel Air 2 door sedan he received at a young age of 13 with the help of his parents and brothers. The car wasn’t touched again until he was 15, sometime after that he put a Chevy big block in it, and a few years after that, he crashed it going 130 mph, and you guessed it on the street, where he took out 9 plus fence posts with it along the way. He still has this car today and is waiting for some downtime to finally get the work that is needed to be done to it. Dominator is a bit of a car collector as he owns about 20-22 vehicles on his property altogether. Not all of these are complete vehicles, most are incomplete, or parts cars. He still wants more to add to his collection but only if it made sense. With such a drive for improvement, Dominator is always looking to better himself. Ideally, he would like to have a twin turbo Hemi, but those are hefty in price and hard to come by. His current projects are to make improvements to his current car by making it lighter by swapping out the doors to a composite material. The ultimate plan would be to build another car just like his, a twin so that he can have a car for the street and a car for the No Prep Kings.
Dominator is a classic tried and true guy. He grew up in small-town America, where there are Mom and Pop shops lining the streets. True love for cruise nights in town, where everyone benefited, the hotels were booked, the stores and restaurants flourished, and where true connections were made with humans, not just all banking on today’s world of social media and the internet, but by having a true regard for one another. One of the most vivid memories was this one-time Dominator got pinched by the police for something he didn’t even do, but because of the type of person he is, and not getting into specifics, Joe was put in a situation where he was to take the blame or tell what happened, and of course Joe refused to tell or snitch on the other person and took the charge himself. As we all know the racing family takes care of their own. One of his favorite things to do is taking his car to cruise nights and doing laps with the others showing their stuff. “It’s sad to see these types of events dwindle down because townships are cracking down on the loud cars but specifically no one has the respect or appreciation of how to treat or act when around them, this then makes the whole town suffer, losing all of that potential business that could be created”.
As Dominator states “If we don’t get enough people hooked on these T.V. shows, and get the masses back involved with racing, then racing will completely go away, it will all go away”. He wants to see this chapter of racing grow and get even bigger and to be preserved, it’s truly a way of life and how a lot of people in this world make a living. As improvements come along and lighter cars and professional crews are more available to some, it is getting harder for cars like Dominator’s to win, but because of the great equalizer of the street and the No Prep scene he still feels like he has a chance and still shows up, and because of those years of experience he is still able to put a-hurtin’ on most out there. Dominator would love to have a bigger crew to help him work on his car, but that just isn’t the case right now. He is blessed with a loving wife who has been known to turn a wrench and has no problem jumping in to help, according to Joe, his wife Lisa is not only his best friend but also his voice of reason when things get crazy. Needless to say, Joe builds and fixes just about anything you can possibly think of for his car, and other drivers out there. Even when he knows he is about to race another driver, and they need his help, he will do what he can to assist them. That’s just how it’s supposed to go, according to him, its true sportsmanship. If No Prep wasn’t a thing on T.V., Joe would still be working on cars and making them as fast and as competitive as possible. In the world of Street and No Prep, safety is not to be toyed with, Dominator has had his fair share of accidents and fires, so he makes sure that he has his 20-layer fire suit and all the proper safety equipment; as safety is the most important part of racing. His car is as safe as can be and pride should be taken in making sure all measures are met. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when these cars can get out of shape on a surface that is unprepped and very slick.
Throughout his obsessions with cars, Dominator has idolized certain drivers. Being on T.V. has allowed him to meet these legends. While in Las Vegas at the Mopar show, he met Bob Riggle. Each night he was out there he used to beg for stories from Bob over dinner. The man is in his 80’s and would tell him stories of living in the shop while working on his car. Bob then introduced him to Gary Malicoat, part of the Mallicoat Brothers from the 1960s in the 41 Willy. Both gentlemen had the same ideals for their cars, Gary was part of the first generation of these twin turbo hemis and is still involved today. Dominator speaks to him on a regular basis for advice and genuine knowledge. Jason Line and Greg Anderson also make it to his list of drivers. Jason and Greg are hardworking and determined as well as level headed. He appreciates the fact of keeping a low profile and living the dream at the same time. Because of the show, he can now call these legends friends.
“Self-control and keeping your cool is all part of the game, it’s just so important not letting anyone else get into your head. Having a hot head ruins the race. After that happens it’s not about racing anymore at that point and that’s not what I’m about or here for”. There is a secret badass behind the nice guy façade. Dominator will give you the utmost respect that you deserve, but he will come at you if it is needed. Level-headedness should not be mistaken for a doormat. All drivers and their cars deserve respect if they are doing what they can with what they have. It is not about the money, it is about the hard work and love put into it.
Just because it is on the internet it must be true is a total sham. Dominator was asked what he wanted the world to know that he never gets asked. One thing for sure was to not believe everything you read (excluding this article). There are posts about how much each driver is for their net worth. None of that is accurate. Not all drivers are the same, and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If he had the means to he would stock up on parts and tools that he needs to update and fix his project cars as well as his Dart. Things take time, effort and funds. All of which will hopefully come in time.
If this wave of racing ever dies out or goes away, he hopes that he can leave behind a legacy to his fans and family to “always have morals and treat people with the respect they deserve, stand up for what you believe in even if it hurts”. Also to the drivers, “keep it [no prep] alive, even if it’s helping others that don’t have the means to get there, they will help someone else one day”. He would like others to teach one another how to get ahead, to help each person out to become better rather than tear each other apart. That includes tuning cars that may outrun our own, it is how his dad, uncle and bother were, and that’s how he is. He hopes this will be passed on to someone else by his example.
Dominator is an extremely dedicated family man to his wife and children. He appreciates every moment he gets to spend with them and hates being away for so long during peak season racing. His brothers have been by his side since they were kids and still continue to do so, and the rest of the family attend the events as much as possible. Dominator is a very blessed man who gets to live out his passion with so much love and support. He is always willing to shake a hand and help the new guy, or gal. In my opinion, they don’t make them like this anymore, and he is definitely someone I want in my corner when I need it. Check him out at the next race, and just say thank you for being part of this experience and keeping it alive for the upcoming future drivers.
(Added in from Team Dominator)
His wife Lisa and he met originally at a car show, she was with one o Joes friends from High School, this is where they were first introduced, but it took 2 years later before things became more serious as they both used to hang out at a shop on the south side of town, to help keep the costs down there were 10 people who shared this shop where everyone worked on their cars and helped each other. Lisa is just as much into cars as Joe, she has the ability to do pretty much anything that Joe can do. Anything from changing spark plugs, bleed the brakes, swap motors or transmissions, change a torque converter, and even the task of running the valves. Don’t let her sweet and charming demeanor fool you as you will not meet a more passionate woman when it comes to cars, winning a race and of course taking care of her family. Joe says “ I knew she was the one when I sent her to town for parts in my 70 Roadrunner and instead of turning left to go to town, she turned right to chase down a Camaro for a quick run on the road”, what guy wouldn’t love to have a woman like that.
Joe and Lisa have 3 children and all girls, Joelee is 11, Madison is 9 and Cammy is 8. Obviously, Joe being the only male in the house can make things interesting. It is said that Joelee has found the passion for cars and racing so we love that all of this is rubbing off on generations to come.
Team Dominator could not be what it is without his family as well as his brother Shane and his best friend Scott.
Shane Woods is his younger brother by 2 years, a welder by trade working in the oil field, because of his work you won’t see Shane much but he is an integral part of what makes this team work. There are many days that he would stay up all night helping Joe work on the car, then go home and change clothes to head to work without any sleep. He has been with Joe from day one, in the Midwest street car scene he had a small tire 65’ El Camino. Hollywood nights is always a movie reference when these 2 are together, the Yellow 57’ and the El Camino in that show parallels a lot of the fun times these brothers have had. Welding is Shanes forte, but throughout the years working together he is capable of doing anything on the car that needs attention.
Scott McCubbin is his best friend and racing buddy for over 26 years, when they first met Scott had an 81’ Z28 with a 406 SBC, had a NOS bottle in it as this was well before the Monte Smith days. Racing at Arc City which is about a 2 hours drive from Oklahoma City, these guys used to work all day, they drive to Arc City and race all night. Today still Scott has his square body S-10 that he works on and races today. Scott is also the one who takes care of the bodywork and paint on Joe’s 67’ Dart. They have been through a lot together over the years and Scott has always been family to this day.
Team Dominator consists of Joe, Lisa, Shane & Scott, no professional tuners, no professional help at all, only this group of country folks who enjoy the racing scene who have had to figure it all out along the way…I truly believe this is why so many root for them on the show and at the racetrack.
** We would like to add it was amazing the outpouring of help in getting this article and all of the photos as well as information and insight by Lisa, Shane, Scott, and also Wendell Dunaway **
Special thanks to Lou at 405 Photo as well for some amazing shots